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Ford Motor Company announced the C-MAX Solar Energi Concept, a first-of-its-kind sun-powered vehicle with the potential to deliver the best of what a plug-in hybrid offers – without depending on the electric grid for fuel.
Instead of powering its battery from an electrical outlet, Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept harnesses the power of the sun by using a special concentrator that acts like a magnifying glass, directing intense rays to solar panels on the vehicle roof.
Solar cars use Photo Voltaic cells (PVCs) to convert the sun’s rays into electricity. In newer designs, the electricity is used in two ways. First, it powers the motor so that the car will move. Second, some of the electricity is stored in a battery so that the car will be able to function on cloudy days, at night, and in dark spaces like parking garages.
The idea of solar powered car appeared by manufactures and universities where the main factor was to reduce the vehicles emissions to zero, increasing the interest and the development on photovoltaic cells industry. In 1979 the first one to be building this kind of vehicle was Alan Freeman from England. It was a simple model, practical and economical at the same time.
The main question remains: how an electric car works.
Powered by solar energy, a solar car is actually an electrical vehicle. The photo-voltaic cells places in the form of solar panels convert sunlight into electrical energy. This kind of process generates heat which is converted into electrical energy and then stored in on a board battery. This battery has the same role as a gas tank on internal combustion car.
On a sunny day the Sunray solar Top will replenish 45 liters of gas in winter time when the days are shorter and about 69 liters of gas in the summer time when the days are longer. The Solar Tops are designed to last for 20 years and require little maintenance.
The efficiency of PV cells is approximately estimated about 10 to 15 percent. That’s why in these car industry, engineers had made a hybrid solar model which can use another fuel source, rising this way the efficiency rate.
In 1997 the Toyota Motor Corporation, was one of the first companies to star manufacturing the full hybrid electric mid-size cars. Their ’97 model: Toyota Prius NHW10 had a big success on the market sold in over 40 countries. Until now, Toyota Corporation has released three more models: NHW11, NHW20 and ZVW30.
In 2008 the Fisher Automotive released their first plug-in hybrid luxury sport car: the Fisher Karma. This car has an innovative petrol engine electric motor combination and is capable to reach 97 km per hour in only 5.8 seconds.
In 2010 appeared another type of solar-powered electric vehicle, called the Blue Car designed by Pininfarina the Italian car designer and manufactured by Bolloré the French battery manufacturer.
There are also types of solar-powered cars for golfing, or entertainment activities designed by the Cruise Company, such as: the Solar Powered Sunray SX2, Kudo TX2, Kudo X6, Solar Powered Sunray SX4 and SX6.
These types of cars will be an amazing advancement in the future car technology, allowing free traveling and nearly unlimited accessibility.
he second generation of the C-Max has been around since 2010 even though the US model has been around only since the end of 2012. A new version has been expected for some time now and it seems that Ford wants to create a rather big impression with the future version which might debut with the 2017 Ford C-Max Solar Energi Concept which is a rather interesting hybrid model that might become a production model in the near future considering that all the technology available on the car is already there and it shouldn’t be all that hard to make it.
So far the details are scarce about the new model but our inside info suggests us that the new model will be based on Ford’s upcoming modular platform which will be derived from the CD4 meaning that it might get bigger while keeping the weight on the same level with the current model of the car. The upcoming C-Max will share its platform with the future Focus and both of them are going to look similar especially since the C-Max can be looked at as the minivan version of the Focus.
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